Tightwad Wednesday – Twice-Used Grounds And Homemade Granola

Posted on October 3, 2007 by Melissa 
Filed Under Tightwad Wednesdays

Each week, I will test out two tips from the The Complete Tightwad Gazette, and on the following Wednesday I’ll review how they went and evaluate if it is worth my time/effort/money to continue with it.

Well, we had two winners this round! It’s about time!

Reusing Coffee Grounds

A reader in The Complete Tightwad Gazette suggested the following tip on p. 183:

Recycle your coffee grounds by making the first pot of coffee the usual way. Then to make the second pot, add only ½ the amount of grounds already in the filter. This allows me to have two pots of coffee at 1 ½ the amount of grounds.

Eric loves his coffee. On weekdays he gets pretty good coffee at the office and he drinks about 2 cups a day. As a result, sometimes on the weekends he finds he needs a good cup to get him going in the morning. I don’t drink coffee very often so we have a 1 cup style coffee maker called a Senseo.

We have already worked on economizing our coffee usage by changing to cheaper ground coffee and using re-useable filters. We thought this idea of “recycling” coffee grounds might be worth a try, especially since it takes about 2 teaspoons worth of grounds to get a good sized cup in our machine.

Note: you may have different results with this experiment in a traditional coffee maker than I did with my one cup coffee maker.

Cup 1 vs Cup 2Cup 1: I brewed the first cup of coffee using my normal method with 2 heaping teaspoons of fresh grounds used for one decent size cup of coffee.

Cup 2: For the next cup I used the same grounds, only with more fresh grounds added to it. I’d say I was probably only able to add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grounds to the used grounds in my little filters.

I poured the coffee into clear glasses before tasting so I could see if there was any difference visually. You could tell that the second cup was a bit lighter in color and probably wasn’t as strong as the first.

Tasting confirmed that the second cup was lighter in flavor but it wasn’t what I’d call “watered down”. The second cup was still good, just not as strong as the first. I don’t see this as a problem, especially since Eric drinks his coffee with creamer and sweetener anyways.

If you are a dark roast fan this may be tougher to handle. I bet this would work much better with a traditional coffee maker because you can likely add more fresh coffee to the used grounds than I could. With our one cup system we use refillable pods and I can only fit so much coffee in those pods and still close them. With open filters you have more wiggle room and can probably achieve a similarly full flavor with the re-used grounds.

I think this is a great idea over all. I hate throwing out coffee grounds after just one use. Surely those grounds have a second run in them.

Homemade Granola

Tightwad Granola RecipeThis recipe was very simple and surprisingly tasty. We decided to add sliced almonds to our version since they are somewhat inexpensive and what’s granola without almonds, right?

I followed the recipe (except made a half batch) and was shocked at how few steps it took. I’ll admit that at first I was a bit skeptical of the results. It seemed like 10 minutes was too short to cook the mixture so I stirred it up and let it bake for about 4 minutes longer. Even though it still looked “raw” it did crisp up some as it cooled. Don’t toast it too long – it will get darker and crunchier as it cools.

I would highly recommend this recipe as a cheaper alternative to buying granola. Being a big granola fan, my only complaint was that even after cooling overnight it was still a little on the chewy side rather than crunchy like the store-bought kind. It isn’t bad though, just a little different. The flavor was right on and familiar.

Homemade GranolaNext time I may split the batch between two pans to allow better toasting throughout. It might also benefit from a little vanilla extract added to the sugar mix right before pouring it on the oats. That might add a little something “extra” without increasing the costs significantly.

Around here granola costs about $4.50 for an 18oz box. I was able to make about 20oz of granola for well under $2.50. I’d venture to say it could be even cheaper if you buy all the ingredients in bulk. This is a very satisfying breakfast or snack and can also be used in all sorts of desserts.

Final Thoughts

Reusing coffee grounds: I think this is a novel and less wasteful idea and is worth a try. Those who like their coffee strong and dark might take issue with this idea since it does tend to lighten the second pot’s flavor a little. I think most people wouldn’t be opposed to trying this though.

Homemade Granola: I love the flavor and the ease of this recipe. Next time I’ll try cooking it in 2 pans rather than 1 so more of the oats get toasted. I think that will make it crunchier like the boxed kind. This is a good basic and cheap granola and definitely a recipe I will try again soon.

Stay tuned for next week’s Tightwad Wednesday challenge where I will be testing out all six of the cheap homemade salad dressings on p. 230-232.


3 Responses to “Tightwad Wednesday – Twice-Used Grounds And Homemade Granola”

  1. Debt Free Revolution on October 3rd, 2007 10:39 pm

    I have always done this coffee trick. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you where I picked it up, but I do know that hubby thought it “neat” and “really smart” the first time he noticed me doing it. I’ve always thought everyone did it!

    The granola recipe sounds good :)

  2. Melissa on October 5th, 2007 9:42 am

    Debt Free, that’s awesome that you had always done the grounds trick.

    A friend of mine who manages a coffee shop wrote me saying “that’s really gross” after reading this post. She even offered to donate coffee to stop me from having to do this. Haha! I guess that’s one way to reduce my coffee costs!

    Maybe it is gross if you are used to high quality coffee like she is but when you use store brand discount grounds who can tell the difference? ;-)

  3. Crystal(new comment) on July 16th, 2010 7:24 am

    A friend of mine told me about this trick only she never added fresh grounds. She did it for YEARS until her husband found out her secret. He never knew that 2nd pot was a freebie.


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